STEVE STEVENS – Memory Crash

  • 9.5/10
    STEVE STEVENS - Memory Crash - 9.5/10


Magna Carta
Release Date: January 29, 2008

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

If you haven’t been locked up in a closet for many decades then “Rebel Yell,” “Eyes Without A Face,” and “White Wedding” are tunes you have heard a time or two in the past. Besides Mr. Idol himself, the key person behind the scenes, so to speak, is none other than Steve Stevens, his internationally known guitar wizard. Steve is a master of sound effects when it comes to his 6-string. Steve has released yet another bombshell: his first solo album in nearly nine years. Just because it’s been quite some time since his last release, it doesn’t mean he has been sitting on his laurels.

During the time since his release of Flamenco A Go-Go in 1999, Steve has been on three Billy Idol albums, on one Bozzio Levin Stevens album, been on a few singles, and can be found on other recordings such as Gregg Bissonette’s Submarine and Derek Sherinian’s Mythology, just to name a couple of more widely known musicians. So why is Steve so busy? Easy — he loves to play guitar; he’s really good at it; others want him for his valuable resources; and because he’s so creative and unique, he gets better all the time and is constantly coming up with new brainstorms. He may not be a virtuoso in the true sense of the word, but he is as close as one can come. Instead, he is one of the best when it comes to guitar effects and creativity.

Memory Crash is a distinguishable achievement for Stevens in the sense that he isn’t just the guitarist. He is the guitarist, songwriter, and arranger. Not only does he perform on guitar but he plays all the other instruments except for the drum work whose duties were handed over to Brian Tichy. There are 10 tracks with a recording time of almost 54 minutes-a decent time for that number of songs. For the most part it is an instrumental album in that only one track (“Josephine”) has vocals.

Overall, this release is as solid as it gets. Every song on it is very good to really “expletive” good. If there is one knock, it would have to be the last track “Josephine,” only because up until that point it is all instrumental and now out of nowhere comes a tune with vocals/lyrics. It’s just unexpected and you have to re-adjust, that’s all. There’s a short 2-minute interlude titled “Joshua Light Show” that has a spacey, intergalactic, and exotic feel to it. Two of the heaviest tracks are “Small Arms Fire” and “Prime Mover.” Interestingly enough, both start out with some acoustic foreplay for a short period of time before things get serious. The first of these two tracks has Steve unleashing a 7-minute barrage on his 6-string after the intro that is absolutely punishing as it is relentless (but in a good way). The second of the two continues to groove all the way through with its hypnotic bass and keys sound in addition to Steve’s guitar wizardry. Additionally, there is a certain U2 vibe during certain parts.

The title track “Memory Crash” starts in with a nice bass groove until Steve cuts in with his ear-piercing high notes. This one has too many changes to keep track of and keeps getting better as it moves along. At the 3-minute mark, roughly, you can hear one of Steve’s trademark sound effects coming to life. “Cherry Vanilla” is a funkadelic, Motown meets Hendrix-styled tune that any Motown aficionado would be proud to claim.

“Water On Ares” is a beautiful melodic acoustic track with complementary bass runs and equally impressive drum/cymbal work running parallel in the background. It is a stunning and gorgeous arrangement of sound that makes it a must listen. “Heavy Horizon” gives you a little tease as to what is yet to come as the opening track to the album. It is fairly melodic for the most part; maybe Stevens wants to show he can play with a little more feeling instead of just hard, fast, and heavy. “Hellcats Take The Highway” takes off the second it begins and showcases Steve’s amazing guitar prowess, but at a notch higher. This track gets better as it moves along.

Being the highlight of the album, this little goodie was saved for last. Robin Trower’s remake of “Day Of The Eagle” is a classic (not only Robin’s version which goes without saying but Steve’s version as well). This could be worth the price of admission alone as they say — in this case the price of the album for just this one track. Steve does this tune justice in every sense of the word. As an added treat, Dug (yeah, used to be Doug … the same guy from King’s X) Pinnick appears on bass. According to Steve, Dug “takes this tune to church with a Sly Stone spin.”

If you’re a fan of Instrumental or Rock, guitar, solo work, or music in general for that matter, this album comes out of the gates like a wild bull and just gets better from one track to the next. It is a must have for any collection.


  • George Fustos

    George was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio. He has engineering degrees in Chemical and Electrical Engineering. He favors Metal, Rock, Hard Rock, Classic Rock, Blues, and even some Jazz and Motown (depending on the tune). He used to dabble with the bass quite some time ago. His most influential bassists are Jaco, Billy Sheehan, Stu Hamm, Geddy Lee, and John Entwistle (RIP Ox). Band-wise he's really into Rush, Tool, early Metallica, Pink Floyd (including Waters and Gilmour as solo artists), The Who, Iced Earth, Iron Maiden, Halford, Joe Satriani, certain Judas Priest, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Albert Collins (Blues guitarist), Motörhead, and a German band called Skew Siskin that Lemmy says in an interview as being "the best band out there today."

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